Though they may disagree on the importance of this phenomenon, most international experts now admit that there is a growing concern, both from states and from people, for Human Rights in international relations. Human Rights are often used to legitimate an action (diplomatic pressures, economic embargo, or even war) against one state, and are now placed at the core of international law. They have therefore become a rich subject for International Relations researchers. One thing that needs to be said about this trend is that interest for Human Rights did not derive from the structure of the international society. Indeed, international law, by definition, regulates the relations between states : the international society being anarchical, international law is considered a ‘law of co-operation' and co-existence, and not a ‘law of subordination' (like internal law, which is based on a vertical hierarchy). Inter-state treaties are based on the pacta sunt servanda principle, that is to say on reciprocity : if one state fails to meet its obligations towards another state, the other one has the right to retaliate by stopping to meet its own obligations towards the other.
[...] Theories of International Relations, quite understandably, have always been influenced by historical events, so the perpetuation of the idea of Human Rights in modern theories of International Relations will depend on questions such as : How will the dilemma between state sovereignty principle and Human Rights universality turn out ? Is the now almost universal approval of the idea of Human Rights a sign that states will ameliorate their Human Rights records ? Will economic globalisation alone mechanically lead to democratisation ? [...]
[...] The fall of international liberalism, the triumph of realism, and their effect on Human Rights in International Relations The selfish attitude of states when confronted to major political interests or the economic crisis, the spread of fascist regimes across Europe, the resulting ‘bankruptcy' of the Society of Nations, and the eventual new World War they caused, could have led to a revival of international liberalism. The creation of the Organisation of United Nations by the San Francisco Charter of June 1945, and the massive ratifying of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was doubtlessly inspired by liberal ideas. [...]
[...] Tang Human Rights and International Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region, London and New York, Pinter - Francis Fukuyama, La fin de l'Histoire et le dernier Homme [The End of History and the Last Man], Paris, Flammarion - Johan Galtung, Structural Theory of Imperialism”, Journal of Peace Research April 1977, p. 81-117. - Immanuel Kant, Vers la paix perpétuelle (1795), Paris, Nathan, 1st edition - Thomas Hobbes, Léviathan (1651), Paris, Livre de Poche, 3rd edition - Martin Hollis & Steve Smith, Explaining and Understanding International Relations, Oxford, Clarendon - Samuel P. [...]
[...] The slow decline of realism A necessary step towards the consecration of Human Rights in International Relations was the decline of realism, whose core doctrine and main subjects of interest were, as we have seen, radically opposed to the taking into consideration of Human Rights issues. Now, the realist paradigm did face opposition that became louder and louder as the situation on the international scene evolved from what it was in the fifties towards something more complex. Actually, realism began to crack when it became obvious even to American and Soviet scholars that it could not explain many important features of what was going on in world politics. [...]
[...] Discussions on Human Rights have therefore contributed to shape modern international law and world politics, which, in turn, have had an influence on the importance given to Human Rights within the discipline of International Relations. This essay is about the influence of Human Rights theories on Intentional Relations (in reality and as a discipline). Why do some states take Human Rights in account in their foreign policy ? If so, how does this sincere or alleged interest in Human Rights manifest itself ? [...]
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